"We all are aware that the Beijing Olympics are beginning on February 4th, the opening ceremony, and President Putin expects to be there. I think that probably President Xi Jinping would not be ecstatic if Putin chose that moment to invade Ukraine," Sherman said to a virtual chat hosted by the Yalta European Strategy, per Reuters. "So that may affect his timing and his thinking."
Amid escalating tensions with the West, Moscow and Beijing in recent years have strengthened ties and often side with one another on issues concerning the international community.
Since late 2021, Russia has gathered roughly 100,000 troops on Ukraine's border. The Kremlin claims it has no plans to invade, but has also rejected calls from Western leaders to pull the massive force away from the border with Ukraine. The White House over the past week has warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could be imminent.